I often use isearch (C-s normally or / in evil) and then want to use that query (or part of it) for replacing. This answer explains how to cycle history, but M-p cycles the history for each mode separately so I don't see isearch queries from query-replace.

Ideally, the query I used for either search is automatically saved and I can use a key binding to insert the query into a buffer or minibuffer.

Example: search for "fib-function", C-h f and insert "fib-function" for help, or helm-do-grep to search for it in files, or just insert it into the current file to start defining it.

  • If you use Helm, you could use helm-minibuffer-history that shows all inputs. and bind it to a key in isearch-mode-map.
    – Tu Do
    May 11, 2015 at 12:39
  • Using this: (define-key isearch-mode-map (kbd "C-u") 'helm-minibuffer-history) causes my entire buffer to be replaced with whatever I select from the history (and I can only select the first item). Also, I can't use that to insert into helm: helm: Error: Trying to run helm within a running helm session.
    – idbrii
    May 11, 2015 at 13:07
  • Weird, working fine for me in Isearch. So, try (define-key isearch-mode-map (kbd "C-c C-l") 'helm-minibuffer-history) if it works. Are you using Spacemacs? Also, if you see a Helm buffer that gives you a list of strings, it's working as expected. Select an item from the list and press RET. Then the input will be inserted into the minibuffer.
    – Tu Do
    May 11, 2015 at 13:13
  • I am using spacemacs and using / to start isearch. I get the same result with that map: I get a helm buffer giving a list of strings separated by ----, but I can't type to narrow down the list and I can't use C-j to move down the list. Typing anything narrows the list to helm-minibuffer-history (the first item in the list). Then my buffer is replaced with helm-minibuffer-history.
    – idbrii
    May 12, 2015 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


Customize option query-replace-from-history-variable (or query-replace-to-history-variable, or both). Point to search-ring or regexp-search-ring instead of query-replace-history.

  • Thanks! (setq query-replace-from-history-variable 'regexp-search-ring) worked to join the spacemacs / history with visual-regexp-steroids. For anyone following along at home, the from refers to the search history and to means the replacement history, so you can track them independently. C-h v explains what they mean.
    – idbrii
    May 12, 2015 at 15:11

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